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Family discusses how the study of science can help son and daughter make intelligent decisions on problems they will confront in the world.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: Centron Productions
Audio/Visual: Sd, B&W
Keywords: Science; Occupations: Scientific
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Why Study Science? That's a conundrum...I'm still trying to sort out "Why Study Industrial Arts?"
The script is somewhat pedantic. It certainly has a the idealistic style of the mid 1950's. Things seemed to staged.
Subject: Science is good for boys AND girls!
The unnamed Midwestern nuclear family are camping, apparently on the banks of the Kansas River. While having dinner, the teenaged son of the family, Jack (played by Larry Sneegas, who is the horny guy in "What About School Spirit" and "The Innocent Party" and the jerk who stays behind at the prom in "What About Prejudice?"), looks up at the stars and says he wants to go to the moon one day. His authoritative father asks, "Will you be ready?" Conversation turns to what Jack and his sister Betty will be studying when they go back to high school that next week. Jack hasn't signed up for any science courses, saying he'll put it off a year, prompting Dad, while smoking his pipe, to grunt, "Then you put your trip off a year." He goes on to explain that science is very important for boys of the atomic age, in order to give them a sound understanding of the technology that will be consuming them and their children for the rest of their lives. Just in case the girls are feeling left out, Dad turns to Betty and explains that girls will need science education, too, in order to keep house. This leaves Jack and Betty with plenty to think about, and Dad and Mom head to their tent while the kids stay out for a few minutes and stare at the stars while pondering their future.
Suddenly, a vaguely recognizable narrator (oh yes! The guy from the beginning of "The Your Name Here Story" and the narrator of "How Much?", also the film producer in "The Vicious Circle") breaks in and begins talking of all the wonderful developments and inventions these kids have ahead of them, if they just keep their heads on straight and study science! As the narrator booms on, we are treated to stock footage shots of airplanes, landmarks, laboratories, factories, and industry. I recognize some of the industry shots from a film Centron produced for the state of Kansas in the '50s to promote tourism in the Sunflower State. (Centron didn't just make educationals, you know). Anyway, the question posed by the film's title is pretty well answered by the end. According to Centron production records, the film was produced by Art Wolf, directed by Herk Harvey, and written by Trudy Travis and Art Wolf, with photography by Norm Stuewe and Maurice Prather and sound and editing by Chuck Lacey and Art Wolf. Dan Palmquist was assistant director. Historically significant, I would recommend this film.
Subject: Dad needs counseling
After a camp out on the lake, a family get ready to go back home to the city, but not after having one final meal on the fire. (the family are all dressed in well, slightly un-casual attire for camping it looks like). After wondering where this was all going, Son finally looks at the stars and decides hes going to be an astronaut someday. Dad wonders how hell do this without some science training. Sis is there as well ready to ridicule him at every turn as well. After all, SHE just has to worry about being a housewife! But soon, Dad says that girls need science too! To learn all about nutrition, how to take care of kids etc.
This may all seem fine, but Dad had this VERY interesting habit of putting his hand down on Sons thigh WAY too much, YIKES!
Wilford B. Wolf -
Another in the Centron "Why Study..." series, this time covering the sciences.
The film opens with two figures on darkening lake fishing. It then transitions to a big echoy sound stage, where Jack, Betty and their family start to talk about why they should study science. While some the reasons given are still need to emphasized today (to enhance general knowledge, to be able to interact and understand technology), there is also healthy dose of the 1950s ambivilance of science and gender roles. While they are wondering that going to the moon will be in their lifetime (the father wisely predicts "sooner than you think"), they also worry about using science for ill. When Betty questions why should take science courses since she bluntly states that she wants to "hook a man", her mother tries to convince her by saying that science courses will help with meal planing and answering children's questions.
About three-quarters of the way into the film, there is a rather odd shift as Betty and Jack look to the stare at the stars, a narrator kicks in and starts to re-numerate all the reasons. He also pitches in a few enticements ("You get to go on field trips!").
While at times commendable, it's still an artifact of its time.